New York Photo Review
from the NYPR Archives

Making Caribbean Dance by Susanna Sloat
The Genetic Wars by Barbara Confino
Soho Photo Gallery
Central Booking Magazine

Shining Projectiles
Ana Barrado
Memories of the Future: Ana Barrado/ Rockets, Vintage Photographs 1980s-90s
Titan 1, KSC by Ana Barrado. Source: deborahbellphotographs.com
Ana Barrado, "Titan 1" 1988

One of those shows that hinge entirely on their chosen subject matter, Ana Barrado’s images of rockets at the Deborah Bell gallery form an interesting chapter in the photography of the Machine. From the Futurists, right through de Chirico and the Surrealists, extending to such Pop artists as Eduardo Paolozzi, and including contemporary photographers such as Edward Burtynski, the machine has been one of the premier subjects of modern art. Its hard edges and malevolent possibilities have intrigued artists in all media. Photography, with its innate hyper-realism, is a natural chronicler of the machine age.

And so we come to Ana Barrado, who has chosen to document in not quite documentary style, the rocket. Mostly photographed in the late 80’s and early 90’s, with infrared black and white film, her well-sized and beautiful prints have a compelling presence. Truly, this work presents the ultimate phallic statement. Ah - how Freud would have smiled!

“Family Outing”  by Ana Barrado. Source: deborahbellphotographs.com
Ana Barrado, “Family Outing”

Shining, pristine projectiles, ready to penetrate far space, Barrado’s spacecraft radiate a lethal glow that belies their supposedly benign purpose. The infrared, of course, contributes to the mood of Armageddon far more powerfully than would picture postcard color. It confers that irradiated nuclear gleam.

And to round out the Cold War vision is a wonderful photograph of families enjoying an atomic moment in the shadow of a rocket. (The wheel chairs are a nice touch.) The esthetics of catastrophe has a long history and large following, both in still and cinematic work. The family picture, especially, with its naive families lounging in that strange light is reminiscent of so many nuclear disaster films. That the imagery of documentation mirrors the imagery of science fiction is an ironic comment on the whole business.

Although there is a sub-group of airport images in the show, they are much weaker than the rest (falling far short of Garry Winogrand’s terrific photos of the same subject.) Most of the rocket imagery in the show maintain a high level, forming a very cohesive group with a strong, unified vision.

Ana Barrado
Memories of the Future: Ana Barrado/ Rockets, Vintage Photographs 1980s-90s


Deborah Bell
511 W 25th St. 7th Fl
Chelsea         Map

212 691 3883
deborahbellphotographs.com

Friday, May 6 to
Saturday, June 25, 2011
Hours: Tues - Sat, 12 to 6
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The Genetic Wars by Barbara Confino
Making Caribbean Dance by Susanna Sloat
Central Booking Magazine
Soho Photo Gallery